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Brian Rybarczyk
Director of Academic & Professional Development
Graduate School
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Abracadabra: Magic Johnson and Anti-HIV Treatments

This case introduces students to HIV, its life cycle, treatment, and problems associated with treatment options. The case, which incorporates critical thinking skills, active learning, self-directed study, and peer-to-peer learning, was developed for use in an undergraduate upper-level biology course entitled “The Molecular Basis of Disease.” It could also be used in an immunology class, a molecular evolution class, or a general biology class to introduce viruses.

Clear Communication: Compensation Strategies for When Students Just Don't Understand

This case was originally designed for training international graduate students who are or will become teaching assistants (TAs); however, the case can be used in any TA or new instructor training forum with a diverse group of participants. The case showcases two teaching assistants to compare and contrast similarities and differences in communication effectiveness as well as to normalize experiences commonly encountered by TAs and new instructors. While English language skills may be one cause of miscommunication, there are also many other possible sources of miscommunication that can affect the teaching effectiveness of an instructor while interacting with and teaching undergraduate students. This case study offers suggestions for ameliorating miscommunication issues and addresses the need for more inter-cultural training opportunities by revealing strategies that can be implemented to improve teaching effectiveness.

The Campus Coffee Shop: Caffeine Conundrums

Since caffeine is a widely used substance, especially by college age students, this case on the effects of caffeine on the human body serves as a real-world connection to many students’ lives. The case is divided into sections covering background information on caffeine, cell biology and signal transduction, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular effects, and addiction/withdrawal. The case was designed so that a section can be used alone or in combination with other sections, as dictated by topic/curriculum needs. It would be appropriate for use in a variety of science and health related courses, including anatomy and physiology, disease related courses, genetics, cell biology, molecular biology, biochemistry, and neuroscience.